Saturday, August 18, 2018

There's Everyone

La Brea Blvd. Los Angeles

I have been revising my "book" in the main library in Santa Monica. I wander past the main desk and the new books and walk up the stairs to look for an empty table. The library is filled with the homeless. They sit at the tables and in the few easy chairs. They shout at one another and murmur to themselves. Last week a man shouted and yelled and was forcibly removed, but no one looked up from their places as it was going on. Neither did I.  I sit at an empty table and take out my computer and the manuscript. I am typing all of it, from the beginning, into my laptop, revising and writing into and out of this decade-long effort. It's called There's Everyone and Then There's Us.  I sit down in a seat with my back to the library and the shelves of books, and I look out a big window at the palms swaying outside. A man's angry voice cuts into the quiet behind me. Why the fuck are you up here? he shouts, and I will myself not to turn around. A woman murmurs something to him, and he raises his voice more, slaps his hands together, and for a moment I think he's hit the woman. I've been looking everywhere for you and you're fucking here. You said you'd be there. The woman protests and the man keeps it up. He repeats the same sentence over and over. I've been looking everywhere for you and you're fucking here. You said you'd be there. I turn around, catch his eye. Oh, sorry, he says. She is surrounded by things. Paper bags stuffed full, a backpack, a small rolling suitcase. I don't see what she looks like because I avert my eyes. I only see her things. I turn back to my computer. Get out of here and don't come back, the woman says. I don't turn around, but there's quiet. A man with tight black curls, a red-checked shirt and black cotton pants stumbles along the wall behind my table and sits down across from me. He puts his hands in his lap and looks down. He has headphones over his ears, the giant squishy kind, and I can hear some tinny music through them. He fidgets and moans a bit, bangs his hands on the table and then places them again in his lap. I look up from my typing, try to catch his eye, but I don't. He smells of the street, but what do I know, especially, of the street? I know nothing.

He sits there with me, or I with him, for the next three hours.


  1. I can imagine being homeless but imagining is not being. I can imagine being tired of moving all the time, of having no safe place, of being scared. Here we have the added bonus of freezing to death in the winter, or just frostbite.

    I'm glad you have time to work on your book. I can't wait to read it.

  2. You are writing. And that title- it could apply to so many different situations, couldn't it? Including the homeless.
    And this- "I've been looking everywhere for you and you're fucking here."
    There's your next book, woman. Or it could be.

  3. The homeless situation where I live out of control. Apparently this weekend the Soldiers of Odin are coming to dismantle a homeless camp that is downtown. Police are warning people to stay away as violent is expected.

  4. During my "Caregifted" week in Vancouver, I saw many, many people living/sleeping in the streets. It was in stark contrast to what I was experiencing. I understood how good my life was/is even with a severely disabled adult to care for.

  5. As you know, My son Weston is diagnosed with ASD. He often wears his headphones and listens to music. He does this not because of his love of music but more out of a necessity to drown out the painful sounds of the world around him. He is overwhelmingly sensory sensitive. I wonder if the "quiet" of a library environment may not be the perfect place for someone who is homeless and untreated for sensory overload issues. There was probably something about your industrious energy that helped provide this man with some much-needed grounding.

  6. We lose track of who we are, living in our safe and comfortable worlds. It is so easy for us to decide who is other, different, less fortunate, less clever, just as long as it doesn't affect us. But we are everyone, we must be.
    Thank you for your open eyes.

    1. Sabine that is so Beautifully said... I'm in complete Agreement!

  7. I am so glad she used her words and protected her space.
    What if she had not had the power to speak? What if you had not been there to bear witness?

  8. There's Everyone and then there's Us, poignant Title to even the short story narrated in this Post... everyone is living their lives and their experiences, none identical... and yet, we're One in that we're Human Beings... and so often that is forgotten or ignored.

  9. This is a stunning post, so vivid, the scene you evoke inside that library, the sounds, the voices, the smells of books and the street, the despair and averted eyes, the hope that is your book, the engagement with the world. and your writing, just brilliant.

  10. Really good I impressed about your post so I would like to talk about it.AllergyBuyersClub Promo Codes



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